Tips on Creating a Death of a Salesman Essay
If you want to write a Death of a Salesman essay, the first thing to consider is what approach you want to take. The writing of it? Then do your research on Arthur Miller and his 1949 play. Study his techniques of flashbacks and how he implemented them. His use of Willy Lomans memories and past encounters was very effective by itself. The effect was amplified by having the “real time” characters use doors while the “memory characters” seemed to walk through them, much like ghosts haunting Loman. The actors, when from mixed times in Willy Loman’s life, seemed not to be aware of one another as the audience sees and hears through the lead character’s tortured mind. There are several techniques, used by both the author and the performers (not to mention directors) that give the play a haunting quality.
Your Death of a Salesman essay might focus on the psychological aspect of the story, such as writing analytical essays. Was Willy Loman a failure or did he just think he had failed? Perhaps his level of success was less than he had hoped and dreamed, but it may have been all the success he was able to achieve. Thinking of success as a water glass, his was nearly full. He had always wanted, not more water, but a bigger glass. His brother seemed to have a much bigger glass, filled by going first to Alaska and then to Africa, where he made his fortune. Willy stayed in New York and feared to venture too far from the familiar. But he kept working, raised his family and filled his own glass as best he could. Was it his own apparent failure that haunted him, or jealousy that others reached higher levels than he could?
Did Willy Loman start losing his grip on reality because of some medical problem, such as Alzheimers that was all but unknown in 1949? Or was it simply that his jealousy and regrets piled up until his mind started slipping? His memory of the Mistress haunted him.
His anger at his son for failing a math class (and then watching the boy’s friend and tutor become successful) might have been a matter of seeing too much of himself in his son. Did he so resent his employer that he forced the man to fire him to justify his dislike? These would be good approaches to a Death of a Salesman essay.
Everybody seems to know someone like Willy Loman. A person with a very high opinion of himself (or herself) who makes poor choices and then blames others for their own failings. Loman knew he wasn’t a likeable sort of person, but he chose a career in which likeability was the greatest asset. He watched others make their fortune while being too timid to follow any dreams he may have had. Years go by and the person becomes angrier and less likeable with time. Like Willy, they expect miracles from others while delivering none themselves. Perhaps Arthur Miller knew a person and based Loman on him. Perhaps he was simply an updated, and slightly twisted version of the classic tragedy. The classic being a great man falling and Miller used an ordinary man, instead.
Regardless of which view you take, it should be very interesting to write a Death of a Salesman essay. There are many aspects to write on so depending on essay length requirements a person can write a short 250 word essay or much, much longer. This is an excellent topic.